AUSTIN, Texas — In one of the biggest surprises of the season, Texas State quarterback David Jones is officially in the running for the Heisman Trophy.
The Heisman is awarded to the nation’s top player who best exemplifies the qualities of character, character, work ethic and character and community service.
Jones has been a dominant force on the Texas Tech football team, throwing for 2,959 yards, 25 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
His senior season with the Red Raiders earned him a contract extension through 2020.
In 2017, Jones became the first quarterback in school history to throw for 2 and 1/2,000 yards in a season.
While Jones is the most successful Texas Tech quarterback to enter the Heisman race, there are plenty of other players with more prestigious accolades.
For example, defensive end Josh Sweat is the nation and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor, who finished second on the team in sacks in 2017, is a three-time first-team All-American.
And running back Lamar Jackson is a first-round NFL draft pick in 2018.
But when it comes to the Heisman, there’s one player who’s not even in the conversation for a spot: quarterback David Ball.
Ball has been the subject of some debate since the Texas Longhorns opened the 2017 season by dropping 10 of their next 12 games, including an 18-17 loss to Oregon.
But Ball’s performance, coupled with Texas Tech’s lack of other Heisman contenders, has given Texas Tech a legitimate shot at winning the award.
“I think that’s pretty much it,” Texas Tech head coach Mack Brown said.
“David is going to be in there.”
The Texas Tech offense has ranked in the top 10 nationally for the last two years.
But while it’s certainly possible to have a successful season on a national level, it’s also possible that the Texas Red Raiders are going to have to rely on Ball, Taylor and Jackson to do it.
So while Ball and Taylor will likely be the first two Heisman candidates, it doesn’t mean the Heisman winner won’t be a part of the conversation.
How is Ball going to do in a Heisman race?
The 2016 Heisman winner threw for 3,890 yards, 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
But those numbers weren’t enough to win the award, with Ball winning both the Heisman and the Maxwell Award, the nation`s most prestigious college football award.
While the 2017 Heisman is more of a stretch, it has the benefit of being a big week for Ball.
He will be making his season debut against Ohio State on Saturday, which means he’ll be taking the field against a top-ranked Ohio State defense.
Ohio State also has the best passing attack in the country, which should give Ball an opportunity to showcase his skills on the national stage.
It’s also important to note that Ball will be playing at the Alamodome in his home state.
Texas Tech has already lost three of the last four games to Ohio State, which is also a good matchup for Ball and the Red Raider defense.
If the Red Raiders can get out of the first half with a win, they could make the case for Ball as the Heisman front-runner.
How are the other Heisman candidates doing?
In a wide-open Heisman race like this, there isn’t one quarterback that is going be considered a lock to win it all.
The most logical choice to win this award is likely USC running back Derrick Henry.
He’s one of only two players to have rushed for more than 1,000 total yards in each of his four seasons at the helm of the Trojans.
But Henry is coming off back-to-back seasons of injury, and he hasn’t had much success with Texas, throwing seven touchdowns and four interceptions in his first two seasons.
Henry, however, has been on the receiving end of some of the nation�s most impressive plays, like a career-high nine touchdown passes against Stanford and a career best nine touchdowns against Oklahoma State in 2016.
Henry was the No. 1 Heisman candidate in both 2019 and 2020, and was the runner-up for the honor in both 2020 and 2021.
But in both years, he had to overcome a back injury that prevented him from playing.
The only other option is Oklahoma State running back Melvin Gordon, who was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of The Year in 2019 and a unanimous first-teamer for the Walter Camp National Player of Year Award in 2020.
Gordon rushed for 1,854 yards and 18 touchdowns during his three-year career with the Cowboys, but he was a major disappointment in the regular season.
He averaged just 2.5 yards per carry, and missed nine games due to injury.
Gordon also had a bad season in 2021, throwing 15 touchdowns and rushing for just three scores.
Gordon should have a